Technology and innovation in the workplace are equally important to employees and employers — for employees because it makes their jobs easier and for employers because it increases productivity, which in turn adds to the bottom-line.
The recent Ricoh Digital Empowerment Survey gives highlights the importance of investment in relevant technology in numbers and employers may be surprised by the high premium employees place on having the latest and greatest gadgets. For some, it is even more important than free food or a salary increase.
The survey, including a representative number of South Africans and South African companies, asked more than 3,500 employees about their views on the latest innovations and how these would impact on their roles. Of those surveyed, the majority believed that they wasted more than 42 days a year thanks to a lack of relevant and capable technologies in the workplace and a third said that lack of investment into new technology was slowing momentum and the business would fail in five years.
When asked about emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and automation, more than two thirds (65%) of employees felt that these technologies would positively impact the way they worked. Within the next two years, 41% predicted that they would perform fewer repetitive tasks and 40% believed that they would be able to focus on more important projects.
Interestingly, 38% commented that in the future they might be in a role that doesn’t exist yet. What was surprising was how nearly all (98%) of those surveyed were enthusiastic about the introduction of new workplace technology, placing both AI and automation at the top of the list.
However, they felt management would only invest if it cut costs (72%) and one-third of employees felt that they were not equipped to get the most out of the office solutions they had, much less new technologies such as AI. They recognised that these would have a potentially positive impact, but they were concerned about their lack of skills (40%) and wanted employers to place a greater emphasis on training (67%).
Overall, employees want more immediate access to data (44%), a reduction in repetitive tasks (41%), and rated better technology higher (59%) than perks like free food (18%). In fact, the need for better technology outweighed a pay rise.
Digital empowerment is a high priority for employees and organisations with a focus on providing the right tools and technologies are highly sought after, with 62% agreeing that the best businesses spent a lot on new technology. Almost half (47%) felt that existing technology didn’t enable productivity and 46% were concerned that competitors already had an edge over their own organisation.
Jacques van Wyk, Chief Operating Officer for Ricoh South Africa, said, “Organisations are looking to find ways of staying competitive and maintaining growth and the influx of new technologies, especially as AI and automation, have made the market competitive and complex.”
“Most business leaders are aware that digital technologies are key to unlocking greater employee productivity and engagement but are looking to solutions and partners who can help them do so intelligently and sustainably,” he concluded.
Edited by: Neo Sesinye IT News